15 Historical Facts You Don’t Know

We all love facts – especially historical ones and ones that are new to us. This list looks at 15 facts that are, hopefully, unknown to most of us here. From the Ancient world to the early modern times, these are all entries that have not appeared before on Listverse. Be sure to add your own unusual or little-known facts to the comments.

Simeon Stylites Stepping Down

1. Saint Simeon Stylites (pictured) was a monk who gained fame in the 5th century for spending 37 years standing on a small platform on top of a tall pillar in Syria. He did it for ascetic reasons and his example was followed in later years by other well known stylite saints. His story is quite amazing and you can read more about it here.

2. In the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt, hoards of staff and family members were walled up with the body of the dead king. The humans and animals buried with the king were expected to help him in the afterlife.

3. In 1927 Otto Rohwedder invented sliced bread. He made the first machine to slice and wrap bread and won a patent for the process. After only six years from invention, more sliced bread was sold than unsliced.

4. In 1911, pigtails were banned in China because they were seen as a link with its feudal past.

5. To save the effort of sailing boats upstream, Mesopotamian traders built collapsable boats which they would sail downstream with a donkey on board. At the other end of their journey they would sell the frame and when they finished trading, they would use the donkey to return home.

Alexander The Great

6. In ancient Rome the punishment for killing one’s father was to be drowned in a sack along with a viper, a dog, and a rooster. The reason behind this? I have no idea.

7. Alexander the Great (pictured) invented a spying technique still used today: he had his soldiers write letters home, which he then intercepted and read to discover who was against him.

8. In Gubbio, Northern Italy, a race has been run every year since the 12th century – and the outcome is rigged. Villagers carry three statues in the race, Saints Ubaldo (for whom the race was started), Anthony and George. Every year Saint Ubaldo comes first, Saint George second, and Saint Anthony last.

9. When anaesthetic was used for the first time in childbirth in 1847, the mother was so amazed and relieved at how painless the birth was that she named her child Anaesthesia.

10. The last time a cavalry charge was used in war was in the Second World War. A mongolian cavalry division charged against a German infantry division – the result? Not one German was killed and 2,000 of the cavalry were.

1St Woman

11. The grid layout used in many cities around the world is not a new invention – it first appeared in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in India, 4,500 years ago. The houses to the side of the streets had bare walls facing the street to keep out the sun and dust from carts.

12. The first policewoman was Alice Stebbins Wells (pictured) who joined the LAPD in 1910. Because she was the first (and only) policewoman, she designed her own police uniform. Four years later, Britain had their first woman policeman.

13. In the 1700s in Paris, women wore hats with lightning rods attached when venturing outdoors during bad weather. Bad idea.

14. In circa 3100–3050 BC Egypt was ruled by its very first Pharaoh – King Menes. It was said that he was the first human ruler – inheriting the throne from the god Horus.

15. Gorgias of Epirus (3rd century BC), a Greek sophist, was born in his dead mother’s coffin! Pallbearers heard him crying out as they carried his mother’s coffin to the grave.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/09/20/15-historical-facts-you-dont-know/

Top 10 Teenage Military Leaders

As a boy, I remember lying on the floor playing with my plastic army men, leading them to victory after victory. My younger self always wanted to be a military hero, and I think most children have a similar desire. While my need for military conquest naturally faded as I grew older and more mature, there are examples throughout history where the very young were able to turn that desire into reality. This list looks at 10 figures in history who began leading armies before their 20th birthday.

10Michael Asen II of Bulgaria

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While many of these leaders were successful, Michael Asen II is one who was too young and inexperienced to have any success. He came to the throne at only seven years of age following the death of his father, Constantine Tikh, in battle. Being so young, the majority of the ruling was done by his mother, Maria Kantakouzene, who was the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, Michael VIII. At this time, the throne was fighting rebels all vying for a claim to the throne. Being the king, Michael Asen II took his father’s place at the head of the military and, though he did very little actual leading, was on the battlefield on several occasions in full battle armament made especially for the young boy.

In 1279, when he was only nine years old, the Byzantine emperor decided to place a more suitable leader on the throne. The Byzantine army easily took the capital, and Michael Asen II and his mother were sent into exile. Although he would attempt to return to Bulgaria with an army later in life, he would be unable to assert himself as the true king and his attempted takeover eventually failed. The date of his death is unknown.

9Gregorio del Pilar

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This one is a bit of a stretch, since he did not technically lead until his early 20s, but his career and fame would make it a shame to leave him off this list. Since he lived much later than most entries on this list, it was much more difficult for young soldiers to find themselves in positions of military leadership. Gregorio was born in 1875, the fifth of six children. His military career began immediately following college at the age of 20 with the start of the Philippine Revolution. Joining the revolutionaries against the Spanish, his actions and bravery in battle brought him to the rank of lieutenant only a few months after joining the service.

A year later, now a captain at the age of only 21, he proposed an attack on a Spanish garrison at Paombong that was an overwhelming victory, leading to his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He was exiled to Hong Kong following a truce agreement between the rebels and Spanish the same year. Only two years later, with the Spanish forces weakened due to the Spanish-American War, Gregorio and others would return to the Philippians to finish what they had begun. In June of 1898, he accepted the surrender of the Spanish in the town of Bulacan and was promoted to general at only 23 years old. This earned him the nickname “boy general” and he was widely respected by his men. He later found success fighting the Americans in the Philippine-American War until he died fighting at the age of 24. He is considered a hero in the Philippines, with several statues and monuments dedicated to him.

8Okita Soji

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While not a military leader in the strictest sense of the word, he was a leading member of a special police force during the late shogunate period in Japan. Okita was a samurai who began training in swordsmanship around the age of nine. When he was only 12, he was defeating kenjutsu (swordsmanship) teachers in rival schools and attained the Menkyo Kaiden scroll labeling him as a master of his style at age 18. He was the head teacher at a dojo for the next year before becoming a founding member of the Shinsengumi, becoming their first unit captain at the age of 19.

While noted for his kindness off the battlefield, he was ruthless on it. During the famous Ikedaya Affair, he held a group of rebels on the second floor of a Kyoto hotel by himself. Eventually, the Shinsengumi would become more involved with the shogunate military, and Okita would assist in several battles. Like many other non-royal leaders on this list, he would die very young, although not in battle. He fell seriously ill in 1867 and died (probably of tuberculosis) in July of 1868 at the approximate age of 24. He is considered one of only 13 Kensei, or “sword saints”, and is one of the greatest swordsmen in the history of Japan.

7Henry IV of France

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Henry IV was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty of France. He baptized Catholic but would convert to Protestantism in the bloody French Wars of Religion. As a teenager, Henry joined and lead the Huguenot forces during this time period. He was known as a striking and brave leader for such a young age, and led several charges into battle himself. At the age of 19, he was nearly killed in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, but was only spared when he promised to convert to Catholicism.

He was held captive by the Catholic forces for the next 4 years, before escaping in 1576 and rejoining the Protestant forces. In 1587, at the age of 24, he defeated a royalist army at the Battle of Coutras, which would lead to his ultimate rise to the throne. He was crowned king of France in 1589 and was adored by the people, known as a man of kindness, compassion, and good humor, but was assassinated by a Catholic fanatic in 1610.

6Wladyslaw III of Poland

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Wladyslaw is another king who succeeded to the throne at a very young age, being only 10 years old. With such a young king in power, many others saw an opportunity to take the throne for themselves, and thus his early reign was more of an internal struggle between the royal family and nobles. At the age of 17, when the kingship in the neighboring Kingdom of Hungary was being debated, Waldyslaw led armies with several other nations under the blessing of Pope Eugene IV against Hungary’s regent Elizabeth of Luxembourg. Following her defeat, he accepted the crown of the Kingdom of Hungary at the age of 19.

The threat of the Ottoman Empire was growing around this time and, with promised backing of Venetian and papal fleets, Waldyslaw turned his recently victorious forces to a holy war against the Turks. However he was betrayed by the Venetian fleets, which helped sail the Turkish forces from Asia to Europe. His army of 20,000 crusaders was caught by surprise when they met an army of 60,000 Turks in the Battle of Varna. Believing the only way for victory was to attack the very person of the sultan Murad II, he personally led the charge of his best cavalry into the heart of the battlefield. While his enemies noted his bravery, it would not be enough to win him the day.

He was overcome by the sultan’s janissaries and killed, his head cut off and raised on a pike for the rest of his army to see, causing them to flee the battlefield. Neither his body nor armor was ever recovered.

5Augustus (Octavian) Caesar

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Augustus was born in 63 B.C. as the son of Gaius Octavius. In his early teens, he was sent to Apollonia, a city in modern-day Albania. He was only 18 years old when news of Julius Caesar’s assassination reached him. Ignoring counsel to seek refuge with troops in Macedonia, he returned to Italia and learned Caesar had left him two-thirds of his estate and, having no living legitimate children, had named him both his son and heir. Set on following in his adopted father’s footsteps, he began to gather support of those loyal to Caesar by emphasizing his status as the rightful heir to Caesar.

On May 6, 44 B.C., 18-year-old Augustus led an army of more than 3,000 veteran troops into Rome, meeting with little resistance since many were sympathetic to his cause. He succeeded in driving Caesar’s assassins, who were under a truce with the current consul Mark Antony, out of the city. With the Senate opinion of Antony shifting from friend to foe, Augustus began to build his military forces, even winning over two of Antony’s legions with the promise of higher wages. After Antony fled Rome, Augustus was inducted to the Senate at the tender age of 19 and granted imperium, which made his command of his army legal. They sent him along with two other consuls to defeat Mark Antony, and they did so at the battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina, forcing Antony to retreat, although the two consuls were killed in the process.

This left 19-year-old Octavious in sole command of what remained of eight Roman legions. However, he was recalled to Rome, and his remaining troops were given to another commander. He would see more successful military exploits later in life, and eventually become the first emperor of the Roman Empire. He died in 14 A.D. at the age of 75.

4Scipio Africanus

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Scipio was a general during the Second Punic War and is most famous for being the commander of the Roman forces that defeated Hannibal at the Battle of Zama, though he was in his mid-30s at the time.

His father, Publius Cornelius Scipio, was also a Roman general. While exactly when he began training for military service is unknown, he was believed to be present on battlefields with his father at around 16 years of age. He became on of his father’s commanders by age 18, leading soldiers through several campaigns and gained a certain amount of fame at the Battle of Ticinus in 218 B.C., when he led a suicidal charge against enemy forces that had completely surrounded his father. The Greek historian Polybius noted his exceptional bravery and reckless daring in battle at such a young age.

Even so, his father’s army never had much luck on the battlefield and saw several disastrous defeats. These early losses would play a grand role in his development as a leader. Once he was promoted to general and given an army of his own at the age of 25, he would never again know the sting of defeat. Following his defeat of Hannibal, the Roman people wanted him to become their dictator, though he wanted no part in Roman politics and refused the offer. He continued to lead victorious armies until his retirement in 187 B.C. He died four years later at the age of 53 and is still widely considered to be one of the greatest generals in world history.

3Muhammad bin Qasim

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Muhammad bin Qasim was a general who fought for the Umayyad Caliphate, the second of the four major Islamic caliphates following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. He was a member of the Thaqeef tribe, learning the art of leadership and warfare from his uncle, who was the Umayyad governor at the time. After proving himself on the battlefield at a very young age, he was given command of an army at the age of only 17.

It was with this army that he began his conquest of the Singh and Punjab regions along the Indus River in modern-day Pakistan. His campaign was the third such attempt to conquer the region, the first two having been colossal failures. Where others had failed however, Qasim had remarkable success. He rode with his army, taking city after city. Word of his victories earned him many allies, and his army of 6,000 quickly swelled to around 25,000. He was noted as a ruthless military leader, even at such a young age. His military strategy was outlined by his own word as being one that would “kill anyone belonging to the combatants while imprisoning their remaining family, but showing mercy to those who yielded and refused to fight, granting them safety.”

His success is widely contributed to the discipline of his troops and his usage of superior military equipment such as siege engines and the Mongolian bow. Following his conquest, he set up a successful administration in the region. Qasim’s policies met with little resistance from locals as they allowed the observance of local religious customs in exchange for acceptance of Muslim rule. He was preparing his army for another conquest when there was a change in Umayyad leadership. The new leader recalled the generals and appointed a new governor who held a grudge against Qasim and had him arrested. There are several accounts of how he died: one says he was wrapped and stitched in oxen hides and carried through the desert, where he suffocated, while another states he was tortured to death. Historians agree he was no older than 20 at the time.

2St. Joan of Arc

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While lacking some of the military prowess that other entries on this list have, Joan has to be so high on this list because she was a teenage girl leading armies in a time when females simply did not fight on the battlefield. Joan was born in the small French village of Domremy in 1412. The house she was born in still stands and is now a museum. When she was 12 years old, she claimed to have a vision of saints Michael, Catherine, and Margaret who told her to drive the English out of France.

At 16, she gained the audience of the royal French court and made a remarkable prediction about a military reversal that would occur near Orleans. Impressed, King Charles VII granted her request to travel with the army and dress as a knight. In order to test the validity of her claim that her mission was of a divine nature, she was sent to attempt to raise the siege at the city of Orleans. She arrived in April 1429 at the age of 17. Historians continue to debate whether or not she actually led armies or was simply a presence there to raise troop morale, but she was no stranger to the battlefield and was noted as showing no fear. On May 7, she ignored a decision to wait for reinforcement and lead a charge against the main English stronghold called Les Tourelles. Though wounded in the neck by an arrow, she returned to lead the final charge herself and was regarded as the heroine of the battle.

With the victory, Joan was seen as a hero. She petitioned for and received co-command of the French army and began attacking and recapturing several small French towns and key bridges. She was present at the battle of Patay, in which the English suffered a humiliating defeat. She also played a key role in the French assault on Paris, where she continued to lead troops despite a crossbow bolt to the leg. She aided in the capture of several other cities over the next year, while seeing her fair share of losses as well. Now 18 years old, she traveled to Compiegne in May of 1430 to help defend the city against a combined English and Burgundian siege. Outnumbered during a skirmish, she ordered a retreat and assumed the place of honor as the last to leave the battlefield. However, she was surrounded and captured by the Burgundians.

She attempted escape several times, but was eventually sold to the English, who accused and convicted her of heresy. Sentenced to be burned at the stake at only 19, eyewitnesses reported she showed no fear at her execution. The executioner, Geoffroy Therage, stated that he “greatly feared to be damned.” On May 16, 1920 she was canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XV, and has since become one of the most popular saints.

1Alexander the Great

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This entry should come as a surprise to no one. Alexander was born in 356 B.C. as the son of the Macedonian king, Philip II. When he was 13 years old, he was sent to Mieza to be tutored by Aristotle, with classmates such as Ptolemy, Hephaistion, and Cassander. When he was 16, he returned to Macedon to rule as regent while his father waged war against Byzantium.

It was during this time that Alexander saw his first military action by leading a small force against the Thracian Maedi, who saw the opportunity to revolt. The Maedi greatly underestimated the prince and were driven from their territory. This would be the first of many victories for Alexander. When he was 17, his father placed his son at the head of a small army, sending him to suppress revolts in southern Thrace, which he did with relative ease. Philip’s army joined his the following year and together they took the city of Elatea.

Next came the allied cities of Athens and Thebes, who met Philip and Alexander in the Battle of Chaeronea where the Macedonians used a faked retreat to win the day. With this victory, all the Greek city-states (except Sparta) surrendered, and Philip formed them into the Hellenic Alliance. Two years later, Philip was assassinated by the captain of his personal guard. The nobles and army both backed Alexander as the rightful king at the age of only 20. He began his reign quite ruthlessly, eliminating potential rivals to his throne. When news of Philip’s death reached the Greek city-states, they quickly rose up in revolt. Alexander took only 3,000 of the Macedonian cavalry to put them down. By age 21, he was preparing for his first campaign.

A whole list could be dedicated to his military genius. He twice was outnumbered by at least 2:1 against the mighty Persian Empire and emerged victorious (Battles of Issus and Gaugamela), although he was in his mid-20s at this point. By the time of his death at age 32, he had conquered most of the ancient world. He is regarded by many today as the greatest military commander of all time.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/06/29/top-10-teenage-military-leaders/

10 People Who Were Erased From History

Throughout time, man has attempted to keep an accurate historical record of the events that came before them. Originating in oral history, passed down through generations, and eventually recorded as written texts, these stories have been cherished for centuries as the only connection to a world that would be otherwise forgotten.

As is often the case, at times it became inconvenient for certain truths to be widely known, let alone published as an eternal record. Occasionally, certain events—and even people—were simply written out. Very rarely a complete success, only rumors and side notes revealed that there had been any attempt at a cover-up. As time progresses, we continue to uncover more and more historical figures who were whited out in an editorial revision of undesirable history.

10Geta Severan

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The term Damnatio Memoriae was coined by the Romans as literally the damning of a memory. In an age when legacy was held in higher regard than even life itself, it was the ultimate insult to strike an entire lifetime’s worth of achievements from the books as if they had never existed. The Roman penalty was considered one reserved for the worst offenders, such as religious heretics, political offenders, or disgraced members of affluent families. Such was the case of Geta Severan and his family.

Geta attempted to divide his father’s kingdom with his bitter rival and brother, Caracalla. Thwarted by their mother, Geta was eventually murdered by Caracalla, who then had Geta’s wife, Plautilla, executed. After their deaths, all inscriptions with either of the two’s names, every statue and reference to Geta or Plautilla, were destroyed. Ironically, due to his fame, the history-stricken Geta was still afforded a public funeral.

9Nikolai Yezhov

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Being the enemy of Joseph Stalin was dangerous business. For the ruthless and feared Nikolai Yezhov, it contained a pointed irony that as minister of Stalin’s most vicious enforcement unit, he himself ended up at the spear-end of the communist leader’s anger. Nikolai was not only ousted, murdered, and disgraced along with his family, he was then methodically erased from photographs where he had previously appeared with his commander.

Overnight, Yezhov went from one of the highest officers in a powerful new world order to a shadow in a poorly lit photo and a name no one dared to utter. And Yezhov was not the only person to receive the World War II–era Photoshop treatment—it was commonplace in the communist government to deny failures and make inconvenient truths, even people, disappear. The practice has continued in current communist-led governments where rebellious leaders are removed by force and deleted from official documents.

8The Erased Of Slovenia

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Being stricken from the history books is not an event reserved only for individuals. Prior to Slovenia declaring its independence in 1991 from Yugoslavia, many immigrants had made their way to the new country. A lengthy application process was established in which ethnic Slovenes were not required to request citizenship. In 1992, faced with a huge logistics problem, the Slovenian government decided to do something about their migration woes: They deleted over 25,000 people from the public registrar of official citizenship.

With the purged records went all social, economic, political, and civil rights that the people had once possessed. Literally overnight, the former residents found themselves illegal immigrants in their own homes. The battle to restore citizenship and rights has lasted over 20 years, with court appeals ruling in favor of the erased. Though many chose to immigrate elsewhere, others remained, pretending to be refugees or claiming asylum even though they had been equal citizens only days before. The European Court for Human Rights has ruled in favor of the activist group seeking to restore the lost rights, suggesting more than double the amount the Slovene government has offered in restitution.

7Jang Song Thaek

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Few dictators in recent history have been painted in the media as bigger lunatics than the bloodline of Kim Jong-n and his predecessors. Despite the grandstanding and often belligerent statements made by the current powers that be, some truly upsetting policies have emerged from the secretive, totalitarian government. One such policy is of cold-blooded murder and defamation of anyone—including family—who opposes the official policy of the state.

When his own uncle brought offense to current dictator Kim Jong-un, he had the man arrested. He then had him decreed a traitor and murdered. But it didn’t stop there—thoroughly infuriated, Kim had the man systematically removed from all media in the country that was within the government’s power to manipulate. The man who had enjoyed an inside position for years now officially never existed in the country of North Korea.

6Queen Hatshepsut

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The Egyptians may actually have invented the practice of historical revision; no one knows for sure. They did certainly bring it into the public light as a common and aggressively pursued practice. Each new pharaoh sought to prove himself the superior of his predecessor, often at the cost of demolishing all memory of the former king. This practice makes it very difficult to determine chronological events in Egyptian chronology because the names of conquered rulers were literally chiseled out of their place in history. If a king was not succeeded by his own heir—at times even if he was—the entire bloodline, all attending priests, and even household pets were put to death. This served to end the traditions that the people had followed before.

Queen Hatshepsut was a peaceful queen who led a prosperous Egypt for 20 years after the death of her husband Thutmose I. Thutmose III, the eventual heir, was too young to take the throne, and Hatshepsut took regency over him before assuming the title of pharaoh until her death. Whether because of a personal grudge or as a political move, Thutmose had inscriptions of his aunt removed, her statues walled up or destroyed, and her name erased from history. One of the obelisks she erected does still stand in Egypt today.

5Maximian

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It was a case of the classic power struggle between great forces seeking to be sole ruler of the most powerful nation in the world. At the time, Constantine and the rebellious Maximian shared the ruling title of Caesar, arguing over who had the right to the title of Augustus (supreme commander). It was a complicated affair and the shifting of power went back and forth for years.

Maximian abdicated his position twice under pressure but continually reclaimed his right as Augustus over Constantine. Known as anti-Christian, Maximian had temples burned and Christians persecuted throughout the province. Extremely unpopular in the reformist regime that would become Constantine’s empire, he was imprisoned and eventually committed suicide. As punishment for his crimes and to wipe the Roman slate clean to make way for Christian policy, Maximian was erased from history—his portraits were removed and coins bearing his image were destroyed.

4Elizabeth O’Farrell

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The story of Elizabeth O’Farrell is the story of hundreds of women in Ireland during the revolution of 1916. As a nurse and strict Republican, O’Farrell was a huge supporter of the movement, even delivering messages across borders despite the inherent risks. She was an outspoken advocate during a time when the country of Ireland viewed women as keepers of the home and nothing more. Ultimately, when the white flag was waved, it was O’Farrell who was chosen to stand next to opposition leader Padraig Pearse at the surrender. A great moment in Irish history, a commemorative picture was taken.

The problem? Elizabeth O’Farrell wasn’t visible. Only her feet appeared behind the rebel leader, and later versions of the image showed an airbrushed scene with no O’Farrell whatsoever. She remained an obscure footnote for nearly 100 years. The question is whether or not the deletion was intentional. In the intervening years, the Irish government has even issued an apology for the downplaying of female freedom fighters and has named a bridge after another protest participant—Rosie Hackett. According to witnesses who claim that they spoke with O’Farrell, she intentionally stepped aside to not give the oppressors the satisfaction of seeing her face. As to why the editors later chose to remove what was left of her image, no one seems to know for sure.

3Akhenaten

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Akhenaten has at times been referred to as the inspiration for the Christian character of Moses. His influence on the Egyptian people was unprecedented . . . and, ultimately, short lived. Credited with introducing monotheism to the Egyptian people, Akhenaten eliminated the polytheistic, popular pantheon of gods traditionally enjoyed by the culture. Radical and revolutionary, he did not make many friends with his overhaul of religion and politics.

Shortly after taking the throne, Akhenaten ordered all mention of the previous god (said to have fathered the previous pharaoh) to be removed from the mortuary chambers of his father. With his wife Nefertiti, he ruled the land and established a new capital. For all his efforts, his decrees were later reversed by none other than his son and the most famous of all pharaohs: Tutankhamun. Shortly after Akhenaten’s death, the scribes entered his father’s tomb and re-carved all of the original god’s names. While they were at it, all mentions of Akhenaten were systematically eliminated.

2Altani Khan

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The name of Genghis Khan conjures images of terror and war that are unparalleled in history. The name “Altani Khan,” on the other hand, falls flat to most modern ears. In fact, during the time of Genghis and his reign, he had three daughters who were not only feared and respected, they were praised by their father and honored with powerful positions in the military. It was their influence that rescued his kingdom from ruin after his death, and it was solely due to an unknown censor that their names were lost to history in the first place.

The reason every schoolchild knows Genghis Khan but no movie was ever made starring a cartoon version of Altani or her sisters is because the record of their reign, The Secret History of the Mongols, was mysteriously edited to exclude the words of their father that would bestow their rightful honor in his new kingdom. Genghis was reported to have said that honor should be given to the women, whom he had great respect for. Unfortunately, the kingdom soon fell and the daughters were forced to fight off a hostile rebellion that was eager to reclaim the fallen king’s territory. As the passage of time covered the true story, the sisters were left off the official record.

1Jack Parsons

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Jack Parsons was one of the most influential men of his time. Inventor, scientist, and socialite, he was responsible for the beginning of one of America’s most important programs. Jack was a founding member of the JBL, an invaluable source of technology for the military during World War II which eventually provided a wealth of knowledge to an up-and-coming NASA.

He was also present during the early creation of Scientology. As friends with L. Ron Hubbard, who at times borrowed Parson’s wife and vice versa, Jack was making waves in the 1940s that didn’t sit well with the educated elite—or the Federal government. He often referred to himself as the Antichrist and attempted to summon creatures from the underworld. Systematically removed from the textbooks and virtually all references that aren’t footnotes, Jack was expelled from society and buried in the annals of history until a biography entitled Sex and Rockets brought the memory of this colorful character back to life.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/09/14/10-people-who-were-erased-from-history/

10 Weird Parlour Games Played Before TV Existed

There seems to be a misconception in modern society that our ancestors were incredibly straight-laced and that entertainment for them was to sit around exchanging cholera survival stories and attempting to ford a river without losing their oxen. But humans are remarkably clever, and rather than sit around bored waiting for death, they created a bunch of ridiculous games to help speed up the process.

Bulletpudding

Bullet Pudding was extremely popular in Regency-era Britain because it combined two of their favorite things: people humiliating themselves and live ammunition. In this game, the host of the party fetches a large serving dish—the size of dish you would serve turkey on at Thanksgiving. Then, a mountain of flour is assembled, roughly two feet high, and a bullet is placed at it’s summit, balanced precariously. Like a primitive version of the game Jenga, each player takes turns poking at the flour, causing minor flour avalanches that eventually lead to the bullet falling deep within the recesses of the flour mountain. Here’s where it gets fun!

The player whose avalanche caused the bullet to fall must put their hands behind their back and slam their face into the flour mountain, digging around using only their face and mouth and retrieve the bullet with their teeth. It can be read in the diaries and letters of the people who played this game back then that the real challenge of the game was to do all of this without laughing too hard, because if you did you would run the risk of inhaling the flour and choking yourself to death. This game is truly a timeless classic. Substitute cocaine for flour and you have a family reunion you won’t soon forget . . . just ask Amy Winehouse.

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Professor Moriarty was the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes in the classic stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the Victorian-era. People despised him so much for his fictional transgressions against a a guy that walked around in a safari helmet with a Baskerville pipe, that he lives in infamy as the target of angst in a popular game of the same time period. It is a two player game where the players blindfold each other, hold one hand each and lay on their stomachs. In the other hand, they hold a rolled up newspaper and call out, “Are you there, Moriarty?” The other player replies, “Yes!” and then the player who asked the question tries to hit the other player in the head with the newspaper. That’s it. Someone gets hit in the head with a newspaper, and everyone maniacally laughs until it fades into awkward silence.

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Although this game was only popular from the 16th century to the mid 19th century, getting drunk and lighting things on fire has never lost its luster for the human species. The game was simple: fill a bowl with brandy, put several raisins or plums in the bowl and let them sink to the bottom, and light the brandy on fire. The entire object of the game was to retrieve the raisins from the bottom of the inferno without burning yourself too badly. The worst part about it is that you bravely charge into a burning bowl of brandy, risking life and limb and your reward is the worst dehydrated snack food in existence.

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Hot Cockles sounds like the name of something you buy at a food truck that is absolutely delicious and greatly shortens your life expectancy. Turns out only the second part is true. This is a Victorian-era variation of everyone’s favorite classic Blind Man’s Bluff, because apparently it was such a good game that it needed spin-offs. One person sits in a chair while the main player puts their head in their lap. One by one, everyone else comes up behind them and kicks them. The object of the game is for the guy being kicked to correctly guess who just kicked him. If he gets it right, the person he identified is the new punching bag. Sometimes the simplest things are the most memorable, but if you can’t manage to remember, the bruises will help.

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Wink Murder, you’ll be happy to know, is also known as Murder Wink, Wink Death, or Wink Wink Murder. How many evil, murderous names do we really need for one game? There are many variations of the game, but the most standard way to play is to assign one person as “the murderer” and one person as “the detective.” The murderer conceals his identity the best he can as everyone else carries on having conversations about random things. At some point he makes eye contact with someone and winks at them, at which point they feign sudden death and collapse on the ground. The detective needs to use deductive reasoning to try to find out who the murderer is, and the murderer just needs to kill as many people as possible. Family game night!

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If you’ve always had the dream of getting bossed around like a military recruit in basic training, but never could quite pull the trigger on enlisting, this game is for you. One person is assigned as the captain and everyone else stands in rank and file formation and strictly follows any order the captain gives, without laughing. He gives them commands for a while until everyone is bored and then the game ends by him commanding everyone to get down on one knee. He then walks over to the person that is the furthest to the left or right and pushes them inward so that they crash into the next person and everyone falls over like dominoes. Sounds more like aggravated assault to me.

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No one knows who Reverend Crawley was, but he’s probably haunting someone’s cottage in England angry about the fact that the only thing people remember him for is a children’s game. He shouldn’t feel too bad though, it has stood the test of time. Even today this game is commonly used as an icebreaker among new groups of people, or even just an exercise to build teamwork. First, eight to ten people get in a circle and put their hands in the middle. Then everyone tangles their arms up and grabs the hand of someone else on the other side of the circle. No one can let go of anyone’s hand, but the group must untangle themselves back out to a circle. This usually requires a great deal of acrobatics, flexibility and patience. Why was a reverend playing this game anyway?

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If you’ve ever dressed up as Santa Claus and worked the donation kettle for the Salvation Army, you’re going to be amazing at this game. One person is given a bell while everyone else blindfolds themselves. The bellman sneaks around the room periodically ringing the bell while everyone else tries to use the sound of the bell to lunge towards him and catch him. It was played mostly in the Victorian-era which I guess was still too early for people to realize the inherent danger of several blindfolded people all running towards the same place with conviction.

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This game would have been popular for much longer if it weren’t for Victorian-era dentistry and the breath that must have gone along with it. Everyone sits around a table with a piece of wool directly in the center. When the game begins, everyone blows as hard as they can at the piece of wool, trying to prevent it from being blown off their side of the table. If the wool is allowed to fall, that person must pay a penalty by doing one of various bizarre things pre-designated by the group. Alternatively, there is a list of approved and suggested penalties that most people kept to, oddly endorsed by some sort of parlour game lobby of the 1800s.

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It is mind-numbing to consider the fact that out of all the parlour games people used to play, this is the only game where the instructions typically tell you to proceed with caution. The warning actually has nothing to do with human safety, they just urge players to clear the room of precious valuables on the off-chance things get dangerous. If simon says and musical chairs had an illegitimate love child, this game would be it. One person is “it.” They stand in the middle while everyone else sits around them in a circle of chairs. The player in the middle asks someone in the circle, “Do you love your neighbor?” that person has the option to say “No”, which forces the people adjacent to them to run around the circle and try to grab a new seat, or they can say, “Yes, except those who wear . . . ,” (brown, blue, etc.) at which point anyone who meets the criteria has to scramble for a chair. The person in the middle will almost always get a chair because they are so much closer, so the one leftover player takes their spot. There’s no way to win the game, it ends either when the players reach retirement age or someone is knocked unconscious by a priceless figurine.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/01/29/10-weird-parlour-games-played-before-tv-existed/

Top 10 Things The Nazis Got Right

The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi party) is one of the most infamous political systems in the history of the earth, made famous by their severe acts of cruelty and completely inhuman behavior. Despite that, the Nazi government implemented a number of policies which were for the good of their people and those of the future; many of these policies are now implemented by our own governments.

Please note: this list is NOT an endorsement of the Nazi regime which is, clearly, one of the most evil in history – second only to Stalinist Russia. This list hopefully shows that even amidst great evil, the good of man is still able to shine through. This list is an homage to those men and women living in Nazi Germany who were able to make change for good whilst living under a severely corrupt and wrong regime.

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Nazi Germany was the first country to ban vivisection in the world, enacting a total ban in April 1933. The measure to ban vivisection was a huge concern and was put forth to the Reichstag as early as 1927. High ranking Nazis such as Hermann Goring, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler were very concerned about animal conservation, particularly pertaining as to how animals were butchered. Most current laws in Germany, and indeed the world, are derived from the laws put forth by the Nazi Party. This is, obviously, incredibly ironic as while on the one hand they defended the lives of brute animals, whilst on the other hand cruelly slaughtered Catholics, homosexuals, gypsies, and jews.

Hermann Goring, who was established as the Prime Minister of Prussia, had this to say:

“An absolute and permanent ban on vivisection is not only a necessary law to protect animals and to show sympathy with their pain, but it is also a law for humanity itself…. I have therefore announced the immediate prohibition of vivisection and have made the practice a punishable offense in Prussia.

Until such time as punishment is pronounced the culprit shall be lodged in a concentration camp.”

The above picture is a cartoon showing animals saved from vivisection saluting Hermann Goring. The sign in the window says “Vivisection Forbidden”.

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When the Nazis came to power in 1933, their concerns not only laid with the people, but with the animals native to Germany. In 1934, a national hunting law was passed to regulate how many animals could be killed per year, and to establish proper ‘hunting seasons’. These hunting laws have now been applied in most western countries.

This law was known as Das Reichsjagdgesetz, the Reich Hunting Law. The Reichstag also footed the bill for education on animal conservation at Primary, Secondary and College levels. Additionally, in 1935, another law was passed, the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Protection Act). This law placed several native species on a protection list including the wolf and Eurasian lynx. Additions were added later as to afforestation and the humane slaughter of living fish.

Without this law it is likely some species would have completely disappeared from Germany’s forests.

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It is rumored that Adolf Hitler was so opposed to smoking in his later life that he couldn’t stand someone lighting up in the same room, and often felt obligated to object to it as a waste of money. Thus, he began one of the most expensive and effective tobacco movements throughout history. While during the 1930s and 1940s, other anti-tobacco movements failed fantastically in other countries, it was taken seriously in Nazi Germany.

The Nazis banned smoking in restaurants and public transportation systems, citing public health, and severely regulated the advertising of smoking and cigarettes. There was also a high tobacco tax, and the supplies of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht were rationed. Several health organizations in Nazi Germany even began claiming that smoking heightened the risks of miscarriages by pregnant women, now a commonly known fact.

The statistics of annual cigarette consumption per capita as of 1940 had Germany at only 749, while Americans smoked over 3,000.

The picture above says “He does not devour it, it [the cigarette] devours him!”

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Nazi Germany had one of the largest public welfare programs in history, based on the philosophy that all Germans should share a standard of living.

One of the most famous of these was the Winter Relief program, where high ranking Nazis and common citizens both took to the streets to collect charity for the unfortunate. This was not only an extremely intelligent propaganda move, but also a ritual to generate general good public feeling toward those in need. Posters urged people to donate rather than give directly to beggars. Joseph Goebbels, himself a high ranking Nazi in control of Radio, Television and Propaganda, often participated in these events.

But how was the cost of this met? Largely from the stealing of belongings from those people considered enemies of the regime. The Nazi government stole immense amounts of money from their population and used it to fund a social welfare scheme that favored select members of society. Modern schemes modeled on this system are funded by taxes that steal from everyone.

Pictured above is a canister used for the Winter Relief Fund effort.

Nazi Volkswagen

Literally meaning “People’s Car”, this vehicle was presented as a car that every German citizen could afford to buy. It was based on the advice of Hitler to the designer, saying that it should resemble a beetle. The car was a huge success (it was made available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme at 990 Reichsmark, about the price of a small motorcycle), but toward the end of the war resources were low and public availability declined. The Volkswagen emerged more as a military vehicle toward the end of the Third Reich.

However this has not stopped it from being one of the most popular vehicles in the world, known for reliability, stylish design (though some might question that!) and ease of use.

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While not originally conceived by the Nazis, Hitler was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea and pushed for the largest network of roads to be built across Germany. Established as the first freeway system in the world, the autobahn was a revolutionary feat of engineering that forever changed the way humans travel. Thousands of countries have emulated the system Hitler put in place, including America and Britain. It is single handedly the largest network of roadways in the world, with roads stretching all across the country, even to other countries such as Austria.

The construction of this roadway wasn’t only revolutionary in itself, it provided over 100,000 workers with jobs necessary for the economic recovery efforts. It was a goal of the Nazi party to try and bring the country into a sense of unity through the roadway system, and for the most part it was successful. Aircraft was tested on the long, smooth, straight sections of road and Grand Prix racing teams are known to practice on them.

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The man who invented rockets as we know them today, Wernher Von Braun, was a member of the Nazi party and commissioned Schutzstaffel Officer. He aided both Germany and the United States in the use of rockets during and after WW2, and eventually became a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Although he pioneered many areas, including the installation of liquid-fueled rockets in aircraft and orbit to ground missiles, he is best known for his achievements in NASA.

His best achievement there was undoubtedly the development of the Saturn V booster rocket, that helped man to finally touch the moon, in July 1969. Von Braun officially opened the gate to space travel through his innovative inventions…as well as creating one of the most destructive methods of war known to mankind.

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The Nazis were very interested in both film and music as propaganda techniques and essential cultural pillars. The first known magnetic tape recording was of a speech made by Hitler, and Joseph Goebbels pushed for more complicated methods of filming.

For example, the propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Will’, the sequel to the former propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Faith’, is regarded as one of the most important pieces of cinematographic history. The director, Leini Riefenstahl (pictured above) used an astounding thirty film cameras and over one hundred technicians to produce the two hour film. Since Triumph of the Will had an unlimited budget, the latest technologies were used. Cranes and track-rail filming were used, techniques still used today to make a smooth ‘traveling’ effect.

Ultimately, the propaganda films are dead, but the techniques developed at the time are seen regularly in the latest great Hollywood blockbusters.

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The Nazi style of uniform was as bold as their style of government. Thick-soled leather boots, slouch hats, cowhide coats, and peak hats were some of the staples in Nazi fashion, as well as muted color tones often in gray, tan and black. The SS Panzer military organization struck fear into the hearts of their adversaries, with black forage caps and leather coats which were later adopted by American rockers. Doc Martens closely resemble the jump boots that many Schutzstaffel officers wore. Look around at any rock, industrial or otherwise ‘edgy’ group and you see small traces of Nazi fashion sense. The American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once described the style as ‘mildly theatrical’.

Additionally, the founder of Adidas, Adolf Dassler (whose nickname was Adi), was a Nazi. He produced shoes for the Wehrmacht during the war, as well was providing American and Nazi athletes with his footwear during the Berlin Olympics. This created national acclaim when Jesse Owens won the sprinting event at the Berlin Olympics wearing Adolf Dassler’s shoes. Adidas is now a multinational company, supplying athletes all over the world with a supply of footwear and sports accessories.

His brother, Rudolf Dassler, was the more ardent Nazi of the two brothers and went on to found another proficient sports company…Puma. Oh – and Hugo Boss was a Nazi who, from 1934, was an official supplier of uniforms to the SA, SS, Hitler Youth, NSKK and other Party organizations (as evidenced in the advertisement above).

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The death of ethics from medicine in Nazi Germany was a sinful, reckless, and dangerous decision, leading to untold atrocities; it has created one of the most extensive ethical controversies in history. Through the Nazi use of torture they discovered information that is discretely used by doctors and medical scientists today. For example, the Nazis extensively studied and monitored hypothermia, at Dachau concentration camp, by subjecting victims to severe torture. The Nazis immersed victims in vats of freezing water or left them out in the winter cold, all the while monitoring changes in body temperature, heart rate, muscle responses and urine. These tests were initially performed on volunteer soldiers, but the Nazis were not satisfied that they had all the information they could get and began to test on concentration camp victims. They attempted to formulate methods to bring the bodies back to a safe temperature, including the “Rapid Active Rewarming” technique that seemed to be the most effective method of revival – and is used today in the west. This research could potentially fill a gap in other researchers studying hypothermia.

A fascinating and extensive article on the ethics involved can be found here.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/31/top-10-things-the-nazis-got-right/

10 Deadly Warnings The World Ignored

Every so often, a disaster comes along that’s so catastrophically, unfairly, life-shatteringly ginormous the whole world sits up and pays attention. Most of them, like the Asian Tsunami or Spanish Flu, seemingly spring up from nowhere, trailing chaos in their wake. But, just occasionally, you get a planet-sized catastrophe that we’ve not only known about for years, but we’ve been too darn lazy to do a thing about it.

10The Haiti Earthquake

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In 2010, an earthquake of terrifying proportions hit the Republic of Haiti. Thousands were killed, whole villages annihilated, and the capital turned into a wasteland of ruins and suffering. For geologist Claude Prepetit, it was validation of the worst possible kind.

Since 1998, researchers had been predicting a major earthquake in the region at some point. With such a vague prediction, it’s almost understandable that officials ignored them, but Prepetit had taken that original research and made it frighteningly relevant. The quake, he was convinced, would hit Haiti worst, where the number of illegally constructed buildings in Port au Prince would turn his country’s capital into a “vast cemetery.” Over the course of a frantic year, Prepetit wrote papers on the subject, spoke before international audiences, and contacted government officials directly, but Haiti’s leaders simply didn’t listen. When they could have been spending money to tear down unstable buildings and construct earthquake-proof ones, they were instead blowing the budget on expensive 4x4s to cruise around in. Finally, on January 12, 2010, the inevitable happened.

9The Fukushima Meltdown

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The 2011 Japanese earthquake was a disaster on a near-unprecedented scale. A magnitude 9.0 quake was followed by a devastating tsunami, which was in turn followed by possibly the worst nuclear accident in history. It was exactly the sort of catastrophe that no one could have predicted. No one, that is, but Koji Minoura.

Twenty years before a gigantic wave sent the Fukushima reactor critical, Minoura was investigating a reference in an ancient poem to a tsunami in Northeast Japan. Digging through historical records, he uncovered the Jogan Event—an earthquake and tsunami that killed 1,000 people in A.D. 869. By the late 1980s, he had traveled to the site and uncovered some startling evidence that this part of Japan got routinely flattened by a tsunami every 1,000 years or so. And the next one was way overdue. Over the next 20 years, Minoura produced a flurry of work warning about the inevitable annihilation of the Fukushima area. His articles made it into magazines, periodicals, and journals—all of which were completely ignored. Two years after his predicted tsunami hit, parts of Japan are still in ruins and the reactor still poses an immediate danger.

8The Dangers Of Asbestos

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Asbestos is one of the 19th century’s big mistakes. Recognized for its strength and resistance to fire, manufacturers began splashing the stuff around by the bucket load. For nearly 100 years, it cropped up just about everywhere, despite causing lung cancer, disease, and early death.

People had suspected since the early 1900s that asbestos might be dangerous, with a high rate of illness and death being reported around asbestos-mining towns. But it wasn’t until 1938 that a study commissioned by asbestos manufacturers conclusively proved that it was basically airborne death. At this point, those same manufacturers suppressed the findings and denied all knowledge of them. The result was illness and poverty for hundreds of thousands of workers. Because there was “no proof” linking asbestos to lung cancer, those who came down with it were ineligible for compensation. Companies frequently just dropped them, leaving them and their families to die in penniless misery. As late as 1992, asbestos companies were still refusing to shell out money to their dying ex-workers, claiming there was little evidence of a link between asbestos and illness.

So when did we finally get around to banning this murder-product? Guess what: We still haven’t.

7The Financial Crash

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave or off a trust fund, you’ve probably heard of the recent financial crash. Now, there are a lot of people out there who claim they predicted the banking collapse, but only one came close to actually averting it.

Meet Brooksley E. Born. In 1996, she was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a government body intended to keep a watch on the financial markets. At the time, Wall Street was booming from the effects of deregulation. The rich were getting richer, the less-rich were becoming the new rich, and even the poor were getting a slice of the pie. One of the centerpieces of this wealth explosion were something called financial derivatives. In the halcyon days of 1996, no one could imagine they had the power to turn a regular financial crisis into the type of crash unheard of since the ’30s. No one, that is, except Brooksley Born.

Almost from the moment she entered the CFTC, Born was fighting to reign in credit-swap derivatives—a move that could have lessened or even averted the recent meltdown. Unfortunately, her warnings came to the attention of free-market advocate Alan Greenspan, who lobbied Congress to strip the CFTC of its power, arguing that Born’s anti-derivatives stance would “cause a financial crisis.” Completely failing to anticipate the dramatic irony, Congress sided with Greenspan, stripped the CFTC of its powers, and forced Born out—resulting in recession, mass-unemployment, skyrocketing prices, and half a decade of political instability.

6History’s Deadliest Avalanche

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In 1962, graduates David Bernays and Charles Sawyer were unwinding with a long climbing expedition through the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in Peru. Between feats of manliness and posing against epic backdrops, they decided to examine a glacier known only as “511,” the suspected source of an avalanche that occurred a few years beforehand. What they discovered was enough to put them off their expedition.

Glacier 511 was unstable. As in seriously unstable: The whole thing was basically one push away from obliterating everything in the valley below—a valley that just happened to be home to several thousand people. Returning to civilization, Bernays and Sawyer did what anyone would do and alerted the authorities, who promptly threw them in jail for causing a panic. After two weeks of struggling to be heard, the duo eventually recanted their claims and returned home. Unfortunately for the Peruvian authorities, their victory was short-lived: On May 31, 1970, an earthquake in the region triggered the world’s deadliest avalanche. Glacier 511 and more collapsed, burying over 25,000 people under a wall of ice and rock.

5Leaded Gas

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In the early 1960s, scientist Clair Patterson made a worrying discovery. Our air was absolutely swimming with lead, hundreds of times more than when our ancestors roamed the Earth. This was bad news: Lead is super-toxic. Prolonged exposure can result in anything from anemia to constipation to death. Being a scientist, Patterson decided to trace the source of all this murder-air and discovered it was due to leaded gasoline being used in cars. Manufacturers of leaded gasoline took one look at his findings and decided to destroy his life.

For the best part of a decade, companies with friends in high places hounded Patterson from jobs, cut his research funding, and generally went out of their way to discredit him. Pseudoscientists were wheeled out to declare lead was perfectly safe, and the whole country kept happily pumping it into the atmosphere, painting their walls with it, and using it in food. It took until 1970 for Patterson to get the Clean Air Act passed, and a further 17 years to get lead banned from gasoline. Some 30 years after his research conclusively proved all this lead was toxic to us, the government finally removed it from food containers and paint—a delay that means the average American now has 625 times more lead in their blood than people in the 19th century. That ain’t a number to be proud of.

4The Wall Street Crash

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The 1929 Wall Street Crash was the mother of all financial meltdowns. Forget our current recession: The Crash ushered in the Great Depression, a time of 25 percent unemployment, mass internal migration, and groaning misery for millions. And one guy saw it all coming.

On September 5, 1929, economist Roger Babson famously gave a speech where he predicted an impending crash, claiming it would be absolutely “terrific.” Slightly less than two months later, Black Tuesday hit and irreversibly changed the course of world history. Over $5 billion was wiped out of the economy, a figure which is almost beyond calculating in today’s money. The Depression was ushered in and a decade of misery sparked off, culminating in FDR, the New Deal, and a whole new political consensus. Now, predicting an event a mere two months in advance may not sound so impressive, even when it’s of epoch-shaking magnitude, but according to The Guardian, Babson had been warning about the Crash for years. We only remember his September 5th speech because of the timing. The reality is, this guy was a modern-day Cassandra, and everyone ignored him until it was too late.

3Tobacco’s Cancer Link

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If you want to witness evil in action, look no further than Big Tobacco in the 20th century. For decades, firms like Phillip Morris and Imperial got stinking rich pushing people into early graves, shilling their products to babies, and generally acting like the standard cartoon cliche of a soulless multinational. But the lowest point of all has to be their active suppression of studies warning about a link between smoking and cancer.

As early as 1930, German researchers had noticed a correlation between the two. By the 1940s, it was pretty much conclusive. Want to guess how Big Tobacco reacted? That’s right! By spending the next six decades smearing the science. When people began to worry about the effects of smoking in the ’50s, they set up a phony scientific council to counter the claims. When the Surgeon General conclusively linked smoking to a range of health problems in 1989, they rejected the findings. Unbelievably, last year Imperial Tobacco still continued to claim smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Thanks in part to that evil, over 100 million people died from smoking in the 20th century alone. That’s more than were killed by both world wars.

2The Rise Of Hitler

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In 1919, Germany had ended World War I with an unconditional surrender. Not exactly in the mood for mercy, the Allies, led by the French, decided to slap the aggressive nation with a fine so unimaginably huge it would take them until 2010 to pay it off. As far as British economist John Maynard Keynes was concerned, this was a shortcut to disaster. By crippling the German economy with sanctions, the Allied nations would inevitably trigger panic, collapse, and a very, very dark time. Probably feeling like the character in a time travel movie who fails to alter the future, Keynes lobbied governments, wrote articles and, in a last ditch effort, published these prophetic words:

“If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation.”

Since this is an article on warnings that were ignored, you can probably guess what happened next. Keynes was brushed off, the German economy evaporated, extremism swept the nation, and an unknown artist called Adolf decided to give politics a whirl. Way to go, France.

19/11

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In September 2012, the New York Times released the results of
an investigation into the Bush administration’s knowledge, in 2001, of an impending terrorist attack. The results were shocking. Far from being caught unawares, America had known for nearly a year that a devastating attack was imminent, but a combination of bureaucracy and bungling meant the warnings were ignored.

As early as June 22, 2001 it was known that Al-Qaeda strikes were imminent. There was good intelligence backing this up,: It had the blessing of the CIA, and was considered a certainty. Unfortunately, the politicians in the Pentagon stopped any action being taken and dismissed the report as a fabrication, one concocted by Saddam Hussein to distract attention from himself, despite such a theory making absolutely no sense. The rest of the Times’ report is a depressing litany of repeated warnings ignored, sources downplayed, and the CIA reduced to begging the President to take notice. On June 29th, July 9th, July 24th, and August 6th, the issue was raised with extreme urgency, and it was batted aside each time. The result of this bungling was the single worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on American soil, the deaths of 3,000 people, a decade of war, and the erosion of our civil liberties. All because the government was apparently too obsessed with an Iraqi dictator to believe its own intelligence services.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/10/08/10-deadly-warnings-the-world-ignored/

15 Incredible Historical Photographs

This is a selection of photographs of some of the most important or famous historical events that have occurred since photography was invented. In 1884, George Eastman developed the technology of film to replace photographic plates, leading to the technology used by film cameras today; nevertheless, many images exist from before that time that we taken via other photographic methods. Click the photographs for a larger view.

1. The First Photograph [France, 1826]

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Taken by Nicéphore Niépce, this is the first photograph ever taken which still exists. He called his method heliography (sun writing) and this photograph took 8 hours of exposure time (hence sunlight on both sides of the building).

2. Looking Down Sacramento Street [San Francisco, 1906]

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This photo was taken on April 18th, 1906. It is the most famous photograph of the devastation caused by the great fire and earthquake. It was taken by Arnold Genthe on a borrowed camera.

3. Breaker Boys [Pennsylvania, 1910]

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This is a photograph of breaker boys – child labour used to separate coal from slate. This image helped lead the nation to outlaw child labour. The photo was taken by Lewis Hine who travelled the United States taking photographs of child labourers.

4. The Lynching of Young Blacks [Indiana, 1930]

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This photograph was taken after the lynching of two young black men accused of raping a white girl. They were hanged by a mob of 10,000. The faces of the crowd are very telling. A third man was saved by the girls uncle who said he was innocent.

5. Migrant Mother [Oklahoma, 1936]

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This photograph of Florence Owens Thompson (32 year old mother of 7) is one of the great representations of the Great Depression. The photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange after Florence had sold her tent to provide food for her children.

6. Hitler in Paris [Paris, 1940]

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This photograph was taken of Adolf Hitler visiting Paris with his architect Albert Speer, on June 23, 1940. Hitler’s army had captured Paris and Hitler went to admire his new City.

7. The Last Jew in Vinnitsa [Ukraine, 1941]

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This was found in the personal album of an Einsatzgruppen soldier. It was labelled on the back “The last Jew of Vinnitsa”. All 28,000 of the Jews living there were killed at the time.

8. V-J Day [New York, 1945]

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This is one of the most famous photographs from the Second World War. The soldier and the nurse are unknown but people have come forward to claim the fame. Apparently the nurse slapped the soldier immediately after. The event was the celebration of the end of the war and it was taken in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

9. Soviet Flag raised above the Reichstag [Berlin, 1945]

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Soviet Union soldiers Raqymzhan Qoshqarbaev, and Georgij Bulatov raising the flag on the roof of Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany in May, 1945. The photograph was taken by Yevgeny Khaldei.

10. Vatican II Begins [Vatican City, 1960]

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This is a photograph of Pope John XXIII signing the document that officially started the Second Vatican Council. After his death, Pope Paul VI continued the council which was to change the Catholic Church so much that has become barely a reflection of what it was before. On his deathbed, John XXIII is rumoured to have said “Stop the council!”

11. The Body of Che Guevara [Bolivia, 1967]

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After capturing and killing Guevara (Marxist revolutionary), the Bolivian army showed this photograph to prove that he was dead. His death dealt a death blow to the socialist revolutionary movement in Latin America and the Third World.

12. Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla [Vietnam, 1968]

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Photographer Eddie Adams took this photograph of Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnam’s national police chief executing this Viet Cong captain. Adams later said that he regretted that the world did not see Loan as a hero for his actions in Vietnam.

13. Footprint on the Moon [Lunar, 1969]

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On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong put his left foot on the rocky Moon. It was the first human footprint on the Moon. They had taken TV cameras with them. The first footprints on the Moon will be there for a million years. This photograph was taken by Buzz Aldrin.

14. Phan Thi Kim Phúc [Vietnam, 1972]

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The girl in the centre of this photograph is 9 year olf Kim Phúc. She is running from a napalm attack which caused serious burns on her back. The boy is her older brother. Both survived. This photo (by Huynh Cong Ut) became one of the most published of the Vietnam war.

15. Tiananmen Square [China, 1989]

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Probably the most famous image from the student uprising in China in 1989, this photograph shows a single person blocking the tanks that were emerging on the square. The man survived but shortly after the square was filled with innocent blood.

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Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/08/15/15-incredible-historical-photographs/

20 Amazing Color Images of the First World War

Armistice Day (11 November – dedicated by King George V) is the day in which the nations of the World War I allies remember the brave who died. It is known as Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in some countries. It seems fitting that we should have a list on the topic as our own way to say thank you to the many men and women who gave their lives for the protection of our way of life.

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In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sources: Google Images, Heritage of the Great War, and World War I Color Photos

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/11/10/20-amazing-color-images-of-the-first-world-war/

25 Significant Historic Events On New Year’s Day

Today begins a new year – two thousand and nine. To celebrate the new year, I have put together a list of significant events that have happened in man’s history on this day. It was not until the 16th century that the majority of countries in the West began to use January 1st as the first day of the year – prior to that many nations used the Feast of the Assumption (March 25). This list includes only events that happened on January 1st. The list is in chronological order. Happy New Year!

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1 404 AD – The last known gladiatorial competition in Rome takes place (gladiators pictured above)

2 630 – Muhammad sets out toward Mecca with the army that captures it bloodlessly.

3 1515 – King Francis I of France (France’s first Renaissance monarch) succeeds to the French throne.

4 1772 – The first traveler’s cheques, which can be used in 90 European cities, go on sale in London.

5 1788 – First edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published.

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6 1800 – The Dutch East India Company (the first international mega-corporation) is dissolved.

7 1801 – The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

8 1804 – French rule ends in Haiti. Haiti becomes the first black republic and first independent country in the West Indies.

9 1808 – The importation of slaves into the United States is banned.

10 1863 – American Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation (pictured above) takes effect in Confederate territory.

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11 1877 – Queen Victoria of Britain is proclaimed Empress of India.

12 1892 – Ellis Island opens to begin processing immigrants into the United States.

13 1901 – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton (pictured above) is appointed the first Prime Minister.

14 1902 – The first American college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, is held in Pasadena.

15 1908 – For the first time, a ball is dropped in New York City’s Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.

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16 1925 – The American astronomer Edwin Hubble announces the discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way.

17 1934 – Alcatraz Island (pictured above) becomes a United States federal prison.

18 1934 – Nazi Germany passes the “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring”.

19 1956 – A new year event causes panic and stampedes at Yahiko Shrine, Yahiko, central Niigata, Japan, killing at least 124 people.

20 1958 – The European Community is established.

21 1959 – Fulgencio Batista, president of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro’s forces during the Cuban Revolution.

22 1962 – United States Navy SEALs established.

23 1971 – Cigarette advertisements are banned on American television (vintage cigarette commercial above).

24 1978 – Air India Flight 855 Boeing 747 crashes into the sea, due to instrument failure and pilot disorientation, off the coast of Bombay, killing 213.

25 1985 – The first British mobile phone call is made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Contributor: JFrater

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/12/31/25-significant-historic-events-on-new-years-day/

10 Amazing Sea Survival Stories

Tales of survival at sea and on its most inhospitable islands have fascinated man since he first set sail into the deep blue unknown. Collected here are 10 of the most incredible such tales.

10 Pedro de Serrano

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Pedro de Serrano is considered the OG of castaway survival. It’s not clear how the Spaniard’s ship sank or how he alone ended up on an island in the Caribbean, but he did. He made it ashore with only the knife in his mouth and the shirt on his back.

The island was little more than a large strip of sand, nearly devoid of flora and shade. Also, this was still the New World, only about 50 years removed from Columbus getting lost there. Ships weren’t exactly popping up on the horizon on the regular and Serrano knew it.

Serrano’s physical survival depended on turtles. He killed the reptiles, ate their meat, and used the shells to collect water. With no other animals on the island, Serrano was unable to clothe himself when his clothing fell to rags. Serrano’s only relief from the sun was a dip in the ocean.

Three years went by before Serrano spotted a ship, which wrecked, dashing Serrano’s hopes of rescue. A single sailor survived and the current deposited him on Serrano’s island. Serrano—more beast than man—initially terrified the beleaguered sailor, but eventually the two were able to cooperate and preserved their sanity by observing a strict schedule each day.

Of course, sharing a strip of sand as one eats nothing but turtle meat and the sun boils one’s skin tends to make a person a little irritable. At some point during their four years together, Serrano and the other sailor split the island over an argument, each keeping half until another ship drew past, stopped, and rescued the two men after the survivors first attested they were not devils.

9 Jeronimus Cornelisz

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Unlike most shipwrecked castaways, isolation wasn’t the problem after The Batavia ran aground in 1629. Hundreds of people made it to an island off the west coast of Australia, but the wreck was just the beginning of the ill-fated spice run’s troubles.

Cornelisz, one of the ship’s officers, had tried starting a mutiny when the Dutch East India Trading Company vessel wrecked. Afterward, the ship’s captain took a dinghy and 40 men to sail for Java, promising to come back to rescue the 300 survivors. With the captain gone, Cornelisz became the ranking officer. He had two worries: running out of supplies and being arrested for attempted mutiny if rescuers arrived.

Cornelisz began his reign of terror by hoarding all the salvaged provisions from The Batavia. Sailors loyal to him guarded the stockpile round the clock. To cull the survivors, Cornelisz and his men used the lifeboat and dropped groups off to search for water on other islands believed barren—and by “search,” Cornelisz meant “die,” because he had no intention of returning for any search party. Cornelisz planned on hijacking the rescue ship and wanted to eliminate any opposition on the island. He and his men executed survivors for minor offenses or none at all.

During the killing spree, a gathering party signaled that it had successfully found food and water on another island. Unfortunately for Cornelisz, that party was led by a soldier named Wiebbe Hayes, who had figured out Cornelisz’s deadly plan. Hayes’s 45 men defeated their heavily armed attackers with slingshots and pikes and imprisoned Cornelisz in a pit on the beach. Undaunted, surviving mutineers started bombarding Hayes’s position with cannon fire just as the promised rescue ship appeared on the horizon. Several months had passed and over 100 people had died at Cornelisz’s behest before the rescue ended the mutineers’ reign of terror.

8 Robert Drury

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Drury was an English sailor on The Degrave in 1703. After the ship was damaged, the crew, including Drury, was forced to abandon it near Madagascar. However, making it to shore was the start of Drury’s problems. Remember the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in which Jack Sparrow is chased by an entire army of natives? It was kind of like that for Drury, only there was no ship to escape to.

Drury and the rest of the crew spent their first four days on Madagascar trying to evade some 2,000 Tandroy warriors. When the Tandroy finally caught the crew, they executed every man, but Drury and three other boys were spared—and then enslaved. Drury spent eight years as a royal manservant and worked hard enough to gain some manner of respect, eventually battling alongside his Tandroy captors. As a result, the Tandroy eventually granted Drury a degree of freedom, and he was allowed to marry a fellow captive and raise cattle of his own.

After almost 15 years as a slave, Drury escaped Madagascar alone, aboard an English slave ship. Drury’s wife refused to leave, fearing the Tandroy myth which promised an unnatural death to any slave who escaped. Drury struggled to find a place in English society, and in a bizarre twist, actually returned to Africa, but this time as a slaver.

7 Philip Ashton

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Philip Ashton was minding his own business working on a fishing boat off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1723 when he and his fellow sailors were captured by pirates. The pirate captain, Ned Low, gave the men a choice—become pirates or die. Philip Ashton was 19. He chose “pirate.”

Ashton wanted no part of the cruelty and barbarism which now surrounded him, nor did he want to be executed for piracy when Captain Low’s luck finally ran out. Eight months into his pirate career, Ashton found his chance to escape. Low anchored off the coast of an island near Honduras and sent men, including Ashton, ashore to attain freshwater. As the men finished filling the ship’s casks with water from a stream, Ashton innocently strolled away. When his fellow pirates asked him what he was doing, Ashton yelled “Coconuts!” and took off into the jungle. A week later, the search for Ashton was over and he was alone. The island was plentiful with fruit and tortoise eggs, which was good, since Ashton was barefoot and empty-handed when he escaped.

That changed after nine months of isolation when a Spanish trader in a canoe stopped at the island. He promised to send help to Ashton’s island after he left. In the meantime, he left Ashton with a knife and flint, which allowed him to hunt and cook for the first time since being marooned. It was seven more months before another group of sailors would rescue Ashton.

6 The Crew Of The Peggy

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American sloop The Peggy was returning to New York in 1765 after trading in the Azores. For almost the entire month of November, The Peggy struggled to cross the Atlantic as one storm after another pounded the ship. The mast, sails, and rigging were all damaged. The ship was adrift and it’s hull was leaking badly. What few provisions survived the storms were quickly exhausted as the crew worked desperately to keep The Peggy afloat. It was obvious the men of The Peggy would starve long before reaching land, even after the ship’s cat was killed and eaten. Their only hope was the unlikely chance another ship might pass nearby.

Initial talk of cannibalism among the crew was shut down by the captain, David Harrison, but it was futile. By mid-January, the crew had eaten all the leather and candles aboard the ship, and with Captain Harrison bedridden, the crew resorted to cannibalism. The customary lottery was mere pretense—it seems the crew had already decided Harrison’s black manservant should be the one to make the ultimate “sacrifice.”

At the end of January, the body of the servant was gone and the captain clung to life on a mixture of water and rum rather than take part in the cannibalistic proceedings. A second lottery was conducted, but the victim, David Flatt, was granted a night’s reprieve to pray thanks to the pleas of a haggard Captain Harrison. Miraculously, a London-bound ship brought salvation to all aboard The Peggy—including Flatt—the next morning. The crew of The Peggy had been preparing a fire to cook the next victim when the captain of The Susan provided the starving sailors with food, tackle, and escort to London.

5 Robert Jeffery

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Robert Jeffery was a young sailor in the Royal Navy in 1807. While aboard the HMS Recruit, he sneaked an extra drink of beer. The captain, who may have been drunk himself, responded to the offense by marooning the 18-year-old on the next island the ship passed. Jeffery was left on a rocky outcropping with no food or water as the crew begged their captain to reconsider. Jeffery’s story would have ended soon after, had an American ship not rescued him just nine days later. In fact, the “case” of Robert Jeffery was just beginning.

The public was outraged by the Captain’s behavior and court martial followed. In 1810, when the missing Robert Jeffery was found living in Massachusetts working as a blacksmith, another public fervor erupted. Jeffery’s mother was still alive and well in England and the British citizenry demanded they be reunited. A Royal Navy vessel was dispatched and the public waited in suspense for its—and Jeffery’s—return.

When Robert Jeffery finally arrived back in his hometown in England, church bells and waiting crowds greeted him. The press and public watched as mother and son reunited in heartfelt excitement. One last public outcry served to help Robert Jeffery—the captain who had marooned Jeffery three years earlier was found and compelled to pay his former crewman reparations for having nearly killed him.

4 Charles Barnard

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Captain Charles Barnard spotted smoke while on a sealing expedition near the Falklands in 1812. When he investigated, he found 45 shipwrecked British sailors. Barnard promised to deliver them to the nearest South American port so long as they promised not to hijack the ship, since the War of 1812 was raging up north. Proof that no good deed goes unpunished, when Barnard stopped at another island and went ashore in a small boat to hunt pigs to feed everyone aboard, the Brits he rescued from certain death sailed away in his ship. What Barnard likely never imagined was that the British would leave three of their own to die with him.

Barnard, his one fellow American, and the three British sailors survived for 18 months on various islands and in their rowboat until a British ship rescued them in 1814. Barnard and his companions, now all “Americans,” asked to be put ashore in his boat off the coast of Peru, only to be identified and imprisoned as Englishmen by the Spaniards. It took months for Barnard to clear his name, but he found passage again on a British ship and again asked to be cut loose in his little seal boat, this time to do some sealing. Barnard didn’t find the seals he’d hoped for, but he did find an American ship which offered him passage. Barnard accepted and sailed to China and the Sandwich islands before returning to America in 1816.

3 The Crew Of The Essex

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The accounts of the whaleboat The Essex directly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, as The Essex was to the “19th century what the Titanic was to the 20th.”

In 1819, The Essex left Nantucket for what was expected to be a two-and-a-half-year whaling expedition. On the second day of the voyage, strong storms seriously damaged the ship and threatened to sink it, but the ship was refitted and pressed onward. Several months later and a thousand miles from land, an enormous whale rammed the ship. As the crew started to assess the damage, the whale struck the ship again, holing the ship so viciously, the men aboard hurriedly lowered the boats and grabbed a few provisions.

The 20 men, spread across three boats, decided to head south for fear of cannibals on the nearest land, the Marquesas Islands. It was a fateful decision. Within weeks, the boats were leaky and the food stores were gone. The first man who died was immediately consumed. Three more sailors died and each was cooked and eaten. One of the three boats disappeared, never to be heard from again. The other two boats, one led by Captain Pollard and the other headed by First Mate Owen Chase, became separated.

After 89 days at sea, the three men on Chase’s boat were rescued by an English ship. Aboard Pollard’s boat, the men drew lots and Pollard’s younger cousin was next eaten, though Pollard asked to take his place. A week after Chase was rescued, an American ship found Pollard and another crewman gnawing on the bones of their shipmates, still crazed with hunger. Decades later, Melville met the captain who inspired his fiction, but only exchanged pleasantries out of respect for Pollard’s ordeal.

2 The Other Survivors Of The Essex

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Not long after the crew in their whaleboats departed the foundering Essex, they spotted what is now Henderson Island. The men went ashore thinking of salvation, only to find a barren wasteland. Despite the island’s lack of freshwater and food, three men chose to chance it and stay behind. At the very least, the three boats’ meager supplies might go a little farther that way.

It proved a comparatively good choice, though the situation was almost always desperate. Rainwater which collected in rock pools around the island helped slake the men’s thirst, but food was difficult to come by. They lacked the equipment to fish and quickly devoured the crabs that inhabited the small island. The trio was reduced to drinking the blood of whatever birds they could catch and found a poignant portend of their likely future when they stumbled across the skeletons of several previous castaways.

Nearly every resource on the island had been exhausted during the 111 days the men spent there. Were it not for Owen Chase beckoning his rescuers to search the Pitcairn Islands, the three crew members left behind on Henderson would almost certainly have died of thirst, as the previous castaways to find themselves on the island did.

1 Bernard Carnot

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Not much is known about Bernard Carnot. All that is know for certain is that he was the son of a New Orleans innkeeper, and through a series of misunderstandings, he was convicted of a murder he did not commit and sent to Devil’s Island in 1922 part of the French penal colony system off the coast French Guiana.

Devil’s Island, as the name suggests, is hell on earth. It’s a rocky jungle of an island, rife with tropical disease, mosquitoes, and prisoner-on-prisoner violence. It was surrounded by sharks, as well as currents that had a tendency to dash one against the rocks which surround Devil’s island.

After sixteen years, almost all record and trace of Carnot had disappeared—that is, until an American Don Quixote, William Willis, met Carnot’s mother in New York. Hearing Carnot’s mother’s tale, Willis traveled to South America and enlisted the help of ex-convicts and current prisoners within the penal colony to find Carnot and help the him escape. When Carnot was found, he was barely alive and wearing nothing but rags. Willis provided him with a fake passport, money, and clothing, then smuggled Carnot aboard a supply ship which took him to Brazil. As if he hadn’t suffered enough, it’s believed that Carnot may have been killed in action after joining the French forces under Charles de Gaulle during World War II.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/01/02/dead-men-tell-no-tales-10-amazing-sea-survival-stories/